New York: Covici Friede / Viking Press [through 1939], 1936. First Edition. Hardcover. A superb set of the Dustbowl Trilogy, Steinbeck's epic Depression-era paean to the lives of dispossessed tenant farmers and migrant agricultural workers, all excellent First Printings. Dubious: Crown 8vo (203 x 128mm): 349,pp. Publisher's tangerine cloth, spine ruled in red and titled in black, top edge stained red; original, unrestored pictorial dust jacket, priced $2.50. Fine (clean throughout and tightly bound; upper corners of covers lightly bumped); about Fine jacket, (several miniscule closed tears but no nicks or chips, spine unfaded, light quarter-sized stain to front panel). Goldstone & Payne A5b. Morrow 45. Hanna 3342. Baird 2334. Coan, p. 76. Mice: First Issue, with "and only moved because the heavy hands were pendula," lines 20-21, p. 9, and bullet between the eight's on p. 88, one of only 2500 copies (in subsequent printings, p. 9 was reset and p. 88 appears without the bullet). Chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, accounting for the many copies now on the market in clipped "unpriced" dust jackets, masquerading as the genuine article. Crown 8vo (187 x 118mm): 186pp. Publisher's beige cloth, spine and upper cover lettered within orange title block between thick black rules, top edge stained blue, pictorial dust jacket printed in black and priced $2.00. A spectacular copy, square, tight, clean, unmarked and probably unread, marred only by fading of blue top-stain (only traces of blue remain); about Fine jacket, completely free of tears and edge wear, but spine panel lightly sunned (black lettering and design undiminished). Goldstone-Payne A7a. Morrow 58 & 59. Hanna 3344. Baird 2336. Coan, p. 76. Grapes: Thick crown 8vo (203 x 136mm): 619,pp. Publisher's oatmeal Hessian cloth, lettering and line drawings in reddish-brown, top edge stained yellow, "Battle Hymn of the Republic end papers; so-called first issue dust jacket (with "First Edition" printed diagonally across lower corner of front flap), priced $2.75, with wraparound illustration by Elmer Hader. A Fine, bright, unmarked copy, tightly bound (apparently unread) and clean throughout, marred only by spotting to top edge. Near Fine or better jacket (light wear along edges and folds, but free of tears, stains, or repair of any kind). Goldstone & Payne A12a. Morrow 106 & 107. Hanna 3341. Baird 2333 ("major California novel"). McGrath (Books of the Century), pp. 118-19 ("It is a very long novel, the longest Steinbeck has written, and yet it reads as if it had been composed in a flash, ripped off the typewriter and delivered to the public as an ultimatum.") Zamorano Select 105 ("the most powerful fictional work ever written about California"). Very Fine / Fine. Item #BB2509
Steinbeck's trilogy begins his "California Series." In Dubious Battle, his fifth novel (taking its title from Milton's Paradise Lost), was Steinbeck's first attempt to address, in fiction, the political radicalism of California's migrant farm workers (he was also writing at the time for the San Francisco News, on the plight of migrant workers in California's Central Valley). Of Mice and Men (the title is drawn from Robert Burns's poem “To A Mouse”: “The best laid schemes o' mice and men / Gang aft a-gley / An' leave us naught but grief an' pain / For promised joy”) marks a deliberate shift from In Dubious Battle, working within a narrower framework, with fewer characters, in carefully detailed settings. George and Lennie are different, in size and in mental aptitude, but both have dreams of ownership and independence. The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck's masterpiece and a cornerstone of modern social fiction, won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and is even a "candidate for the Great American Novel." (Modern Library 100) Carol Steinbeck thought the first verse's phrase of Julia Ward Howe's "Battle-Hymn of the Republic," "the grapes of wrath," a fitting title for her husband's epic novel. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).